In the bowl of the usually sleepy but alluring city of Calabar is the University of Calabar, UNICAL. On the weekend days of Friday and Saturday, March 10 and 12 2017, the University kept the city awake and boisterous as dignitaries from all walks of life streamed into Calabar for the institution’s 30th convocation ceremony during which Chairman of Dozzy Group, Sir (Dr) Daniel Chukwudozie was conferred with Honorary Doctor of Science Degree.
The ambience of the University itself was grand. The huge but orderly human and vehicular traffic within the University community gave clue to the nature of guests the institution was playing host to.
During the conferment ceremony proper, Chukwudozie stood on the dais, tall and fulfilled to admiration of swarm of joyous friends as the nation, via UNICAL was about to recognize his service to humanity and fatherland.
Heads nodded in agreement, some bowed response to overpowering emotions, mouths murmured in utter awe and amazement and hands clapped in appreciation, as the University’s Orator, Dr.Genevieve Aglazor read Dr.Chukwudozie’s citation, recalling his humble beginning and reeling out strings of achievements and philanthropic gestures. It was Chukwudozie’s day.
On the conferment of the award, Dr. Chukwudozie said, ” I feel elated and humbled by the array of people who gathered here today,making time out of their tight schedules to rejoice with Dozzy Group. This conferment by UNICAL ,one of the nation’s best citadel of learning, will spur me on, it’s like an energizing elixir. it will energize me to further serve God,humanity and my country”
Chukwudozie is a crowd puller as exemplified by the UNICAL event. Friends, well-wishers, business partners, political leaders and family members poured into the city to felicitate with, and celebrate a man who has made many people’s lives meaningful.
Dr.Chukwudozie’s colleagues in the downstream oil sector were not missing. They came in their numbers to rejoice with one of their own in his finest hour. The boss of Mainland Oil, Chris Igwe put all his schedules on hold to storm Calabar for Chukwudozie.So were Gabriel Ogbechie of Rain oil, Dr Chike Muoguilim of Alkanes Petroleum & gas, Ben Chukwujama of Vine Oil, Anya- Ihembosi, MD Nowas Petroleum among others. Also at the event were Ikem Obi of Petroleum Product Marketing Company, PPMC as well as, Stanley Uzochukwu and Barrister Kingston Chikwendu of the Department of Petroleum, DPR. The Managing Director of Speciality Oil and Gas, a subsidiary of Dozzy Group, Hon Uzama Okpaleke was at the beck and call of all the guests
Industrialist and business mogul, Sir. Emma Bishop Okonkwo, OFR also graced the conferment ceremony. Apart from Emma Bishop Okonkwo, other industrialists who were in Calabar for the Dozzy Group boss are Dr. Chika Okafor of the Chikason Group, Emma Eziokwu, Okwudili Umenyiora, Dilly Motors Boss, Ifeanyi Chukwuka of Topline Automobile, Sir Orji Okoye, Iju Tony Nwabunike, Frank Anazodo of Franklin Marble, Ikenga Alor, Zubby Okafor, Yes Magazine Publisher, Azuh Arinze among others.
On the political front, Abia state governor flew in to celebrate Dr.Chukwudozie who he described as a rare gem, having, according to him, put smiles on the faces of some Abians. Okwadike Igboukwu and first civilian governor of Anambra state, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife was equally part of the eminent and enthusiastic friends of the Dozy Group boss who made it to Calabar.
Essentially, Anambra state, Chukwudozie’s home state was in Calabar in full force to celebrate one of its own.
The governor, Obiano, and government of Anambra were ably represented by a legion of government functionaries, including Commissioner for Land and Survey, Okey Morka, Commissioner for Transport, Rt. Hon. Chinwe Nwebili, Hon Commissioner for Diaspora,Culture and Tourism, Barr. Stella Onuorah, Special Assistant to the governor on Events, Chido Obidiegwu, member of Anambra State House of Assembly, Hon. Nikky Ugochukwu and Managing Director of ANSEPA,Chief Joe Billy.
Also at the event were Barrister Emily Enemuo, Mrs. Ify Izunaso, wife of National Organizing Secretary of the APC, Senator Osita Izunaso, four-time Federal Minister, Alabo Graham Douglas. A group of upscale, high society Igbo ladies under the aegis of Nlecha.com added feminine flavor to the conferment ceremony.
Prior to the conferment, there was a Gala night in Dr.Chukwudozie’s honour. The Banquet Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel Calabar, brimmed with very important personalities on the night of Friday, March 10, 2017.The gathering afforded virtually present the opportunity to speak elegantly of Dr.Chukwudozie. Governor Ikpeazu of Abia for example extolled the Dozzy Group Chairman’s sterling qualities and revealed that countless number of Abia citizens are now big players in the Downstream Oil and Gas sector courtesy Chukwudozie’s mentorship and assistance. The governor praised the Oil and Gas mogul’s doggedness, honesty and humility. Nigeria, he said, needs more enterprising businessmen like him.
At the reception after the conferment, more eminent Nigerians were on hand to again pour encomiums on Dr.Chukwudozie. Leading the pack was Ekulo Group boss, Emma Bishop Okonkwo. The seasoned industrialist eulogized the Dozzy Group Chairman and described him as an exceptional humble man and a quiet philanthropist. He said it was high time government honoured Nigerians who have contributed to the economic growth of the country.
Okonkwo cited the example of retailers and departmental stores in London who do the business of buying and selling such as Harolds of Knight Bridge, Marks and Spencer, Hatchers and John Lewis. “These are the shops that put Britain on sound economic footing; funny enough, they are just into buying and selling”, Okonkwo said.
Dr.Ezeife on his part described Dr.Chukwudozie as a great achiever. According to him, what was playing out in UNICAL (the conferment) was product of honesty and hard work. Chikason Group Chairman was equally full of effusive praises for Dr. Chukwudozie so also was the Nigeria Society of Engineers, NSE which described him as the highest employer of Engineers in Nigeria. Dr. Chukwudozie is an NSE fellow.
The reception witnessed quality entertainment, A-list artists, choice foods and wine all to the credit of Dr.Chukwudozie’s better half, Lady Adaora Chukwudozie, a Chemical Engineer, management Strategist and Publisher, an Amazon in her own right, who, like the dutiful, trusted, diligent and true friend and wife that she is, has weathered and waded through many storms with her hubby in the course of making the Dozzy conglomerate the success story it is today.
Apart from the Dozzy Group Chairman, other prominent Nigerians the University also bestowed with Honorary Degrees include former Information Minister, Brigadier-General Anthony Ukpo (rtd), Alhaji Unmarun Kwabo A.A Jarman among others.
Born in 1957 in his home town of Okija in Ihiala council of Anambra state, Dr. Daniel Nwanneka Chukwudozie started off in 1982 as a trader but he would later, through hard work, resilience, humility and honesty, grew and expand his business, leading to the birthing of Dozzy Group of Companies with Dozzy Oil and Gas as flagship.
Dozzy Group has over the years grown to become a formidable conglomerate with interest spanning Real Estate, manufacturing, Oil and Gas, among others. Dozzy Group of Companies is a parent umbrella with a legion of well structured, functional and efficiently-managed subsidiaries.
An unassuming philanthropist, the Dozzy Group boss, has donated school buildings in Onitsha. He also singlehandedly built St. Paul’s Church, Awka and St. Peter’s College, Okija. He has equally contributed #100million towards the building of St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Okija among numerous other philanthropic gestures.
Dr.Chukwudozie’s nationalistic fervor made him to, in 1999, provided the stool on which the late Catholic Pontiff, Pope John Paul 11 sat when he visited Nigeria.
In furtherance of his service to his fatherland, the business mogul has contributed immensely to the security of Cross Rivers State by reaching out to the state Governor, Professor Ben Ayade and donating five pick up vans to the state’s Police Command.
Many are of the view that his contribution to the economic growth of Cross River state through job creation for the youths of the state may have majorly activated UNICAL’s interest in him for recognition. For example, there is an ongoing massive expansion of Dozzy Group Complex located at the Export Processing Zone,EPZ, Calabar with a magnificent world class liquefied Petroleum Gas LPG facility for storage of cooking gas.
Apart from the UNICAL’s Honorary, award, Dr.Chukwudozie has in his kitty, countless national and international awards.
- Ingram Osigwe is the MD of Full Page Communications, Lagos